Five things you need to do when your husband is in prison on Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is a tough holiday to celebrate when your husband is locked up in prison. I recall my first thanksgiving. All I could think about is how much he is missing out on and how much I missed having him there to celebrate with everyone. It doesn’t help to see friends and family members joyously eating together, oblivious to your pain. It may even seem easier to just skip the holiday and stay home. But that is definitely not the answer!
As you prepare to celebrate (and yes, you GET to celebrate Thanksgiving even though you may not feel like it!), I have 5 tips to help you not just survive Thanksgiving, but actually enjoy the day.
First, start out with the G40
The G40 is making a list of 40 things you are grateful for in your life right now. They can be simple things like your favorite jeans or sweater, or deeper things like love, forgiveness, and friendship. Nothing is too big, nor too small to be on your G40 list! This will help get you in the right mindset for the day. Check out this article to read more things that worked for me when my husband was incarcerated.
Second, right after you finish your G40, begin writing a letter to your husband
Don’t finish the letter, just write 2 sentences. As you go through the day, you will add another 1-2 sentences at time. This helps you include him in your holiday, and also helps you remember to include those juicy moments you want to be sure to tell him about! You will finish your letter right before you go to bed and then email it or mail it out in the morning.
Third, decide how you will respond if/when others ask you about your husband
This will keep you from being surprised by a question. Once you decide on your answer, say it out loud 2-3 times so you can be confident when you respond. Having the answer ready allows you to stay focused on what today is all about, giving thanks, eating, and connecting with family and friends.
Fourth, set your phone call time with your husband
Make this a time when you think you will most need to talk to him. For some, it is first thing in the morning, for others it is when everyone is gathered together. My ideal time was at the end of the day, so his was the last voice I heard, and the last conversation of the day.
Finally, take pictures of EVERYTHING so you can share the memories together. Did Aunt Agnes show up dressed in feathers? Is the table perfectly set or is there China set out? Are people going back for 10ths? Share all of the beauty, chaos, and fun that makes Thanksgiving great! This will help you to be in the moment and look for opportunities to share in the events of the day.
Enjoy the moments, because even in the midst of the painful ones, there is growth and beauty.
I am grateful that you have the strength, stamina, and perseverance to hold your family together in spite of the pain of having your spouse in prison. You can do this. Put your chin up, shoulders back, you have much to be thankful for! for more helpful insight on celebrating thanksgiving with your partner or loved one in prison, read this blog article I wrote.
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